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Britain facing ‘period of destitution,’ former homelessness tsar warns

THE government’s former homelessness adviser warned today that Britain faces a “period of destitution,” with families struggling to afford food and buy shoes for their children.

Dame Louise Casey said Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s new coronavirus Job Support Scheme (JSS) would not “cut it.”

The scheme, to replace the more generous furlough scheme from November 1, will see those in “viable jobs” able to work at least one-third of their hours get 77 per cent of their pay, while the government’s contribution is capped at £697.92 per month.

Employees at firms ordered to close completely will get 67 per cent of their usual wages — up to a maximum of £2,100 a month. Employers are not obliged to top up the wages.

Only Liverpool has so far been placed in the highest Tier 3 restrictions, in which pubs and bars not serving meals must close.

Dame Louise, who “stepped back” from her role in leading the homelessness taskforce in August, told the BBC that many “normal people, trying to get on in normal lives” risked falling into poverty.

She said: “I think we are heading into an unprecedented period. We’re already in it and it’s going to get worse.

“Do we want to go back to the days where people can’t put shoes on the children’s feet?

“Are we actually asking people in places like Liverpool to go out and prostitute themselves, so that they could put food on the table?”

Dame Louise added that it was “unprecedented” for a Tory Chancellor to say that those on the lowest wages could claim universal credit to “compensate for a good chunk” of lost earnings.

Labour shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Bridget Phillipson  urged Mr Sunak to “think again” on JSS.

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